The Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, said that no attention should be given to "the rumours that target the security system and its unity".
El Burhan addressed high-ranking SAF officers yesterday in a meeting in Khartoum, in which he affirmed that the SAF and the Rapid Support Forces* (RSF) commanded by Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo "are working in unity and coordination to protect the homeland and citizens". Hemeti is also Deputy Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council.
'The SAF and the RSF are working in unity and coordination to protect the homeland and citizens'
In the past weeks, rumours have been spreading that Hemeti’s relationship with El Burhan is deteriorating but both sides dismissed the allegations.
Earlier this month, Sudanese news outlets reported that Hemeti publicly rejected the integration of his Rapid Support Forces into the SAF, thereby challenging plans to merge the various armed forces under a unified command.
This refusal came at a time when the rebel Juba Peace Signatories criticised the slow implementation of the security arrangements mapped out in the agreement and called for the quick formation of a unified armed force.
'Groups of the former regime are seeking to erupt a war between the two parties if a single army is not formed in time'
Deputy Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Yassir Arman, explained at the time that there are problems between the SAF and the RSF and said that "groups of the former regime are seeking to erupt a war between the two parties if a single army is not formed in time".
In his speech yesterday, El Burhan stressed that the SAF and the RSF are working together "to protect the transitional period and to help achieve the aspired democratic transition". He also stressed the importance of political unity between all the Sudanese people.
El Burhan said that "no one will be allowed to instigate sedition between the armed forces and the Rapid Support Forces". and claimed to bee keen to achieve more coordination at all levels between the two forces.
'You need to neglect the rumours that target the unity and cohesion of the Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces'
Hemeti himself also addressed the SAF officers and asked them to neglect the rumours "that target the unity and cohesion of the Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces".
He said that SAF and RSF represent one force and reiterated his commitment to bringing about a democratic transition in the country.
Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has called on parties within the transitional government to show unity to address what he described as “the comprehensive national crisis” in Sudan, at a meeting in Khartoum on Tueday.
He cautioned against the danger of divisions within the transitional bloc, the absence of a unified centre for decision making, the lack of common priorities, and differing perceptions of the transition.
Hamdok stressed that “defusing the crisis will only take place through a comprehensive political settlement that includes unifying the civil and military front” and he proposes establishing a national army through structural reforms.
In his proposal, the PM explained that “the Rapid Support Forces are of a special nature” and indicated that the process of integrating them into the SAF requires consensus between the leaders of the Army, the RSF, and the government.
In the meeting, he also called for a one-month deadline for the formation of the Legislative Council with the participation of all forces.
* Officially, the RSF militia, set up by the ousted Al Bashir regime in 2013, was integrated into the Sudan Armed Forces in August 2019. At the same time, however, the militia stays a force unto itself. The RSF, which grew out of the Janjaweed who fought for the Sudanese government in Darfur, is widely believed to be responsible for atrocities in the country in the past seven years. Many Sudanese hold the paramilitaries also accountable for the violent break-up of the Khartoum sit-in on June 3, 2019.